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*** UPDATED x1 - Another poll shows single digits *** Poll: Durbin with a single digit lead and slightly below 50

Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014

* During the Illinois State Fair, I was chatting with a friend of mine who’s also a Chicago TV reporter. The conversation turned to Jim Oberweis and Dick Durbin. My buddy said Durbin would win going away. I said I thought it would be closer than that, partly because Durbin’s been in DC so many years. So, we made a bet. I bet the final spread would be single digits, my friend said it would be double digits.

The last We Ask America poll of this race in late July had Durbin ahead 53-38. The poll was taken before the State Fair, so I could understand why my buddy was so confident.

But things can change in politics. And while I haven’t yet won that bet, I may be on my way to collecting some cash

In a year that’s expected to tilt toward Republicans across the nation, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, is leading Oberweis, who is making his third run for the Senate, 47.8 percent to 40.5 percent, the [We Ask America] survey commissioned by the Sun-Times’ political portal shows.

And in the first major survey since an Illinois State Board of Elections ruling allowed the Libertarian Party onto the ballot, candidate Sharon Hansen had a showing of about 4 percent.

Now you see why the Republicans wanted the Libertarian Party off the ballot. She’s getting 8 percent of the independent vote, according to the poll. So far, anyway, she’s splitting the anti-Durbin vote with Oberweis. We’ll see what happens when party loyalty kicks in.

…Adding… Something happened to half this post. It didn’t publish. Hold on a bit. I’m reconstructing now.

* More

Of those surveyed, 60 percent responded they were less likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who had served in Washington, in the Senate and Congress, for 31 years. […]

Still, when asked: “If a candidate for the U.S. Senate has run five unsuccessful campaigns for various public offices in the past, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for him?” [54 percent less likely] 44 percent said they were either more likely to support that person or that it made no difference.

* From the pollster

“The tight numbers may be a reflection of a Republican year,” he said. “Still, Sen. Durbin is close to 50 percent in the poll. He has the advantage of a large campaign fund and an experienced campaign staff. That can’t be ignored.”

*** UPDATE *** Durbin, you’ll recall, refused to release his own polling results last month. But Oberweis has released the results of his poll

Incumbent Democratic Senator Dick Durbin leads Republican challenger Jim Oberweis by a mere 6% among likely voters in the upcoming November mid-term elections. Receiving 44% of the vote, the 32-year incumbent is well below the 50% threshold.

Durbin and Oberweis receive comparable support from voters of their respective parties. Durbin garners 76% of the Democratic vote and Oberweis receives 77% of the Republican vote. Oberweis has a slim lead over Durbin among independent voters at 38-37%.

Libertarian Sharon Hansen receives 8% of the vote, noting that third-party candidates traditionally poll higher than the vote received at the ballot box.

On the generic ballot for Senate, the Republican candidate holds a slight lead at 44-43% over the Democratic candidate. Independents prefer to vote for a Republican (43%) over a Democrat (27%) to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

More results here. Durbin’s approval rating is upside down. Not good.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, Oberweis got a big boost from a prominent black minister

Bishop Larry Trotter, the senior pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago, said Sunday he’s backing Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis for U.S. Senate, changing allegiance from longtime incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. […]

He said he’s switching his support from Durbin to Oberweis after seeing meager economic development in African-American neighborhoods; a lack of a south suburban trauma center and a perceived “lack of access” to Durbin.

“When you pastor 8,000 people, I think you ought to get a return phone call,” Trotter said at a news conference in his church office Sunday afternoon.

He said he has spoken with Durbin only once despite “many attempts” to express his concerns to the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

I’m betting the real reason is Trotter’s leadership of the anti gay marriage effort last year. Oberweis voted with Bishop Trotter. Durbin supports gay marriage. No mention of either fact in the article, however.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


39 Comments
  1. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Those are disturbing numbers for someone with a profile as high as Mr. Durbin’s.

    Very disturbing.


  2. - Stones - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Although the national trend is going to be towards the Republicans in a non Presidential year, I think most of the drag on Durbin and other incumbents has everything to do with his tenure and exposure. Look no further than Eric Cantor & Mitch McConnell as examples.


  3. - The Captain - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Durbin is a strong campaigner and a motivated Durbin is not good news for Rauner. Durbin is also the best candidate to bring out downstate Democrats, a group that would be less motivated to get to the polls if they were only concerned with Quinn. If the race really is tightening (and if the DSCC polling shows the same) you could see some DC money spent here for the coordinated campaign or GOTV efforts. The Republicans are very unlikely to actually beat Durbin so for every Republican other than Oberweis they’d be better off just losing quietly.


  4. - A guy... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    This is a very interesting poll on a number of different levels. There’s a school of thought that the President’s unpopular image of late doesn’t resonate in Illinois. This poll would point toward that being untrue. Durbin is under 50%. His trend has been moving slowly, but steadily down. I have no idea how Oberweis plays into it or if he does at all. There looks to be an “unpopularity” contest going on in this state and elsewhere. We’ll see soon enough. But this looks like equally bad news for Durbin and the party.


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Rich, for some reason the second half of the post was published and publicly visible prior to my comment. Don’t know if that helps find the problem.

    I thought my eyes were playing tricks after hitting the “Say It!” button.


  6. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    ==Durbin is also the best candidate to bring out downstate Democrats,==

    I think you’re greatly overestimating any positive downstate poll Durbin has. Greatly overestimating.


  7. - A guy... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Cap’n, respectfully disagree on all but your last point. Durbin will probably win. The Senate D’s are up to their necks in alligators throughout the country with some very expensive and tough races. Dick will be expected to spend his own money here, and he has plenty of it. Every poll I’ve see of Downstaters has Quinn doing miserably. Beyond what anything Dick could do. Dick needs to worry about Dick right now or the word “revolution” will have real meaning. If he loses, you can count on many races being turned on their heads. If R Miller wins his bet, a single digit victory, it’s still a good night for the GOP.


  8. - The Captain - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    ==I think you’re greatly overestimating any positive downstate poll Durbin has. Greatly overestimating.==

    1) Durbin’s downstate numbers will be better than any other statewide Dem except for White and Madigan who are not in competitive races.

    2) The crosstabs show Durbin at 43% with about 7% undecided. Mid 40’s is typical for a competitive Democrat downstate, it’s lower than where Durbin typically is but it’s also about 10 points higher than where Quinn was in 2010.

    So no, I’m not.


  9. - Gooner - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Two points:

    First, I’ve argued for a while that the one thing that could help turnout for Quinn would be the perception of a close race for Durbin. Democrats seem to like Durbin more than Quinn. They will show up if he’s in danger and when they do so, they will also support Quinn. If Durbin looks like an easy win, they will not turn out just to support Quinn.

    And as to Trotter - the idea that Oberweis, who has made a career of standing up against people of color (including most recently support for voter ID) is a better choice for poor people over Durbin is simply ridiculous. Trotter hates gays more than he wants economic development. That’s all there is too it.


  10. - Almost the Weekend - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Once again I think this poll has more to do with the company conducting the poll than current numbers. If Durbin was in single digits he would have been on TV already, he has the money. As this blog post stated he has an experienced campaign team, and they would have noticed this already.

    Durbin will win by at least 12. We Ask America will be wrong again come the night of November 4th.


  11. - Belle - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    I think Rich will win the bet.
    Durbin is not in touch with the people of IL anymore. He’s like everyone who spends too much time in DC and imbibes in the kool-aid.
    Should this smaller win percentage come to pass when running against a goof like Oberweis, the Dems should get the message and realize that they need to reconsider how they present themselves in IL.


  12. - The Captain - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    A Guy, two points:

    1) Durbin’s in leadership and likely in the last race of his life so even though it wouldn’t be smart to spend money on him in Illinois he probably gets it if he asks.

    2) the mechanics of how money gets spent in federal races means that for any spending other than staff, tv ads and polling it makes more sense to run that money through a coordinated campaign vehicle. It’s another pot of money that already maxed out donors can pay into plus you can share the cost with the other coordinated entities. If we were talking only about a Governor’s race with no contribution limits you’d be more likely to see the candidate fend for himself but the mechanics of a statewide federal race mean that GOTV money for Durbin helps the ticket.


  13. - Wally - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Funny that Durbin commissioned a poll that showed Quinn only training Rauner by about 3 points, IIRC. He didn’t release the numbers in his race. I wonder why????


  14. - Steve - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Very good point from The Captain. Oberweis catching up is not good news for Rauner. If this becomes a REAL race, more democrats will turn out to re-elect Durbin and thus will vote for Quinn in the process of doing so.


  15. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    Well I guess Durbin can’t point to his yeah vote on DOMA when he was in the house…

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1996/roll316.xml

    But Trotter’s support brings up an interesting point, does this issue hurt Durbin with part of the base and as a follow up does it hurt Quinn?


  16. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Rich, I’ll take some of that single digit/double digit bet cash. Oberweis is far enough removed from his disastrous campaigns of the past that you could poll a generic Republican and come up with similar results.

    All this means (assuming we believe the We Ask America poll) is that Durbin will have to run a bit of a traditional campaign with his $$ and define Oberweis. Not hard to do given how out there and unpleasant he is.

    But I am happy to bet you dinner at Auggies or Sebastian’s that the final result will be more than 9.9999% spread in Durbin’s favor. We on buddy?


  17. - Fickle - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    To help Rich win a bet I’ll swing my vote!


  18. - 4 percent - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    @Almost the weekend

    Note that the pollster said that Durbin is almost at 50 percent and has a large campaign fund. Polls are a snapshot in time and Oberweis has plenty of fodder to be used against him. I’d suspect that the numbers are accurate today and will certainly change over the next eight weeks as Durbin spends more money than the Milkman.


  19. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    One more thing, I really hope national Republicans believe this result and pour money in a race against Durbin. Please please please. It will be like Lucy and the football - politically like Romney spend on PA.


  20. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    I would bet on double digits, I understand the polling now, but Durbin has enough cash )and will
    spend it) if he’s polling in single digits he can run enough negative ads on Oberweis, he’s got plenty of material.

    Also, polling now doesn’t mean as much, certain demographic groups tend to “come home” later in the election cycle.

    Also, a lot of republicans will end up voting for Durbin because they realize his power is advantageous to our state.


  21. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    === you could poll a generic Republican and come up with similar results. ===

    Actually, Oberweis’ poll shows he is underperforming the generic ballot…

    On the generic ballot for Senate, the Republican candidate holds a slight lead at 44-43% over the Democratic candidate. Independents prefer to vote for a Republican (43%) over a Democrat (27%) to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/jimoberweis/pages/246/attachments/original/1409670668/PollMemo.pdf?1409670668


  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    To the Post,

    There are two takeaways I see;

    Durbin under 50% and upside down…

    Durbin still leading greater than the MOE.

    With Rich’s comment that Oberweis is underperforming against the generic, to me, means that those who know Oberweis, are choosing not to roll with Oberweis.

    Those two points above with Rich’s insight on the underperforming still makes this Durbin’s to lose, more than Oberweis to take it from Durbin.


  23. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Durbin is like the team that has an easy schedule and then runs up against a tough opponent. If he runs not to lose instead of to win he could be in trouble.


  24. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Comparing Bishop Trotter’s comments to Pastor Brooks’ comments in May, this appears to go beyond just the marriage issue.

    Brooks == Brooks said “he believes Democrats like U.S. Senator Dick Durbin have taken the African-American vote for granted” == But the pastor said Oberweis has been a regular on the South Side, and that the two “have had very candid conversations.” ==

    Trotter == he’s switching his support from Durbin to Oberweis after seeing meager economic development in African-American neighborhoods; a lack of a south suburban trauma center and a perceived “lack of access” to Durbin == When you pastor 8,000 people, I think you ought to get a return phone call ==

    imho, marriage is part of this, but not all of this. It may not even be the biggest part.


  25. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    This is Durbin’s last campaign. He’s going to leave it all on the field. I don’t care if he wins by one vote or if it’s a landslide and neither does Durbin.

    The tell will be if the national GOP groups start dumping big money here. They’ll waste a token amount to try to expand the map, but my hunch is it won’t get them anything in return. Right now there is little evidence of a national GOP wave, and if that changes, Rich might win his bet, but it’ll take a tsunami to knock out Durbin.


  26. - James R Anderson - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    I think Durbin’s chance of winning is high, but his margin of victory probably won’t be. Durbin is a good politician and knowledgeable about the issues, but he is a target a mile wide and not everybody’s cup of tea on where he stands on those issues. Also, Oberweis isn’t Steve Sauerberg. He is an actual politician with money and fund-raising ability who is able to promote himself and attack Durbin. It’s a real race, though I think the Illinois electorate probably will prefer Durbin. But you never know until the votes are counted.


  27. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has taken a series of hits as of late, so this news does not surprise me. Oberwies has ran a surprisingly smart campaign and is appealing on unexpected levels at this point. His ads geared toward women and minorities have been effective.


  28. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Does Trotter have a milk mustache? I think immigration may be a bigger deal than ghey marriage. Or at least an issue that is gaining strength.


  29. - Leroy - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    If Oberweis’s people were smart, they’d rip through the northwest neighborhoods of Chicago, and try to pin all the noise problems caused by O’Hare’s new runways on Durbin.

    There are a lot of irate people there (rightfully so), and Durbin did have a big part in the O’Hare runway re-alignment deal.

    history: http://www.civiccommittee.org/initiatives/ohare-modernization


  30. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Tough call on the bet.

    Off-year, second-term president from same party says “no” to double digits, but Obie and Durbin’s track records say “yes.”

    Durbin got 68% last time out, up from 60% and 56% the two times before.

    In the end, I believe Obie will come through as only he can. I’ll go with Durbin by double digits.


  31. - train111 - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Every Presideintial election cycle, like clockwork the GOP points to a poll that says their Presidential candidate is competitive in Illinois, and every cycle their Presidential candidate gets thumped in Illinois. I can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing any of these type polls now. That said, Obie will not do as poorly as Saurburg did the last time out.

    train111


  32. - Stones - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Adding to my earlier comment - if Durbin wins by single digits then there are a whole lot of Democrats in big trouble nationwide during this cycle.


  33. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    I’m not surprised in the slightest.
    With the polling I’m seeing reported across the US, Durbin has to be negatively effected as well.

    It will get worse, I’m afraid.


  34. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Nobody need to be in office for 31 years.


  35. - A guy... - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    To the update:
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Bishop Trotter isn’t getting it from Durbin and it’s too late to change his mind. He’ll say this where it matters most, and it will have some impact. How much remains to be seen. Durbin should’ve patched this up a long time ago. If Obie somehow pulls this out, he should invite Aretha to the Victory Party. Because that will be the difference at least with this congregation.


  36. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    For many reasons (some stated here), I’m all in favor of dumping Quinn/Durbin. But to replace them with the likes of Rauner/Obie — really !?


  37. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    Durbin would be skating to reelection, but for the fact that he developed a severe case of Potomac fever. He is so much of a Beltway insider that he seems disconnected from Illinois. His ties to Reid and Obama cannot help him. I think that he is still likely to win, but narrowly like Charles Percy in 1978.


  38. - Downstate Libertarian - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    Oberweis might benefit from the latest move by Rauner…ummm… the GOP. According to Ben Koyl, Libertarian for Illinois Attorney General, the IL GOP are seeking judicial review of the Board of Elections decision that the LP of Illinois obtained enough signatures to get on the ballot.


  39. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 5:15 pm:

    Illinois splits ballots as good as any state, the African American vote will be big for Durbin.
    Durbin will beat Oberweis, Rauner will beat Quinn.
    That’s what the people want.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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